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Thread: Metal-Case LED Light Safety

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Leeds, UK
    When they come in direct from China that is bypassed because so much stuff goes unchecked at customs. Unfortunately, a lot of the "UK" sellers are based in China, so difficult, if not impossible to enforce upon them. Mention it to genuine UK sellers and they act shocked and "don't realise"!!!

    Another dodgy area is 13A plugs in the UK. Some items don't need to be earthed, so a plastic earth pin is acceptable. Class 1 appliances must be earthed and plugs must comply with BS1363. This means the earth pin should be completely metal. Some cheap plugs/ pc leads come with a earth pin with plastic at the top totally illegal!! Finally, I have purchased items with a dummy UK plug which looks identical to a real one, but.... There is no fuse holder inside!!!

    Lets be careful out there folks. The World is easier to trade with these days, but safety standards are universal!!!

  2. #12
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Another problem with most of the metal 240/120 volt lights, is that in order to save more money, they often make the 240/120 volt cord very short, usually just a few inches:

    Click image for larger version

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    This means that the rest of the 240/120 volt wire needs to be connected at this point, and almost any connection made by anyone is not going to be hermetically sealed. This connection is going to be placed directly over open areas of sump water, and therefore it’s going to get a lot of salt creep and even direct splashing. There is no fix for this; the wire should be replaced entirely.

    If you are going to DIY and already have a set of these metal-case lights, you are best advised to not use them and just get a safer light instead. At the very least, use a GFCI protector, available at any hardware store. A safer option would be a low voltage DC version of the same light, with a remote power supply that either comes with it, or that you get and connect yourself (just make sure to get a UL certified supply if it's for the USA). With a really long 2-meter DC cord like we use, the 240/120 volts can at least be placed far away from the sump. However, this does not solve everything for these metal case lights.

    Splashes from the sump, and from the top of all-in-one nano tanks, can easily reach the power supply box especially if the box is kept in the sump cabinet or behind the cabinet on the floor. A splash (or even very thick wet carpet) can short the 240/120 volt AC side of the box to the low voltage DC side, effectively electrifying the "safe" side to 240/120 volts.

    These low voltage DC lights typically are not grounded on their DC side, so when the 240/120 volts hits the LED diodes inside, the diodes are either going to fail open, or fail closed. If you are having a bad day, they will fail closed. The lights typically use Chip-On-Board (COB) designs which put the diodes within one millimeter of the ground plane, and a 240/120 volt shorted diode will easily arc to the nearest piece of metal which is probably now going to be the metal case. So you once again have a 240/120 electrified case waiting to be touched in your sump area, and you will no doubt be touching and grabbing the light to inspect why it is no longer turning on. Thus even low-voltage metal case lights can be electrocution hazards.

    The metal case of these lights is a major problem for safety. Metal obviously conducts electricity, and any 240/120 volt wire that touches the inside of the case is going to electrify the case and cause an electrocution hazard. Especially when you remember that the floor where you are standing is often, and predictably, wet. Unfortunately since the metal case is also the enclosure for the electrical parts, there is no DIY or pre-made solution for this. All you can do is disassemble each light and inspect for visible problems, and test for electrical safety. And if you don’t know how to test, get an electrician to do it for you; the metal case must be grounded to earth.

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